16. "And Moab said to the elders of Midian, 'Now shall this company lick up...'" (Bemidbar 22:4). Rabbi Chiya opened the discussion with the verse: "And he showed me Joshua the High Priest standing before the angel of Hashem" (Zecharyah 3:1). How much should a man watch his ways in this world and walk in a true path, since all the actions of a person are recorded before the King and are inscribed before Him, and all are counted. The guards at the gates stand and give evidence and request true justice, and the judge is ready to receive the evidence. Those who have claims FOR THEIR JUSTIFICATION murmur and do not know if they should go from the right or turn to the left side.
27. Come and see, the celestial adversary descends, as we have already explained, being transformed into the image of an ox. All these evil spirits that were sentenced to be entered into Gehenom, he licks them up in an instant and grabs them, and descends and gives them over to Dumah, after he swallows them up. This is what is said: "And Moab said to the elders of Midian, 'Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licks up...'" (Bemidbar 22:4). That is that known ox, WHICH IS THE ADVERSARY, that stands constantly ready to cause evil for all the world's inhabitants. "The grass of the field" (Ibid.), are the spirits of people, who are the grass of the field. "The field" is that certain field, MEANING MALCHUT.
60. One day, the friends were sitting and contending with each other, MEANING THEY WERE HAVING A DISCUSSION AMONG THEMSELVES. Rabbi Elazar, Rabbi Aba, Rabbi Chiya, Rabbi Yosi and the rest of the friends were present. They said that it is written: "Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle..." (Devarim 2:9). That was for the sake of Ruth and Naamah, who were destined to come from their midst. AND IF SO, Tziporah, the wife of Moses who came from Midian, and Jethro and his offspring, who came out of Midian, who were all truly just, most certainly SHOULD HAVE PROTECTED MIDIAN. Furthermore, Moses grew up in Midian and still, the Holy One, blessed be He, told him, "Execute the vengeance of the children of Yisrael on the Midianites" (Bemidbar 31:2), YET MOSES' MERIT DID NOT PROTECT THEM. Therefore, there is an inappropriate bias in this matter, since Midian appeared worthier to be saved than Moab.
61. Rabbi Shimon said, There is no comparison between he who is going to gather the figs and he who already gathered them, SINCE RUTH AND NAAMAH HAD NOT YET COME OUT FROM AMON AND MOAB, WHICH IS NOT THE CASE WITH TZIPORAH, WHO HAD ALREADY EMERGED FROM MIDIAN. Rabbi Elazar said to him, Although they already gathered THE FIGS, it is still a merit AND THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN SAVED DUE TO THEIR MERIT. He said to him, Whoever has not collected the figs yet constantly guards that fig tree, so that it should not get any harm for the sake of the figs that are still to grow. He abandons the tree and does not watch it after collecting the figs.
62. So with Moab, that was to produce in the future these figs, RUTH, AND HER OFFSPRING, the Holy One, blessed be He, guarded them, as it says, "Do not harass Moab." Midian had already produced the figs and they were collected, as it is written: "Vex the Midianites" (Bemidbar 25:17), since from here on, this fig tree will no longer produce fruit. Therefore, it deserves to be burned by fire. He opened the discussion saying, "And Moab said to the elders of Midian..." (Bemidbar 22:4). Moabites are the ones who started TO DISTRESS YISRAEL. For the sake of the figs, RUTH AND HER OFFSPRING, that Moab will produce in the future, they were saved from punishment.
93. He opened by saying, "And Moab said to the elders of Midian" (Bemidbar 22:4). HE ASKS: It does not say, 'The elders of Moab said to the elders of Midian,' but "Moab said." That means that the young OF MOAB took counsel of the elders OF MIDIAN, and the older ones followed after THE WISHES OF THE YOUNGER ONES and gave them advice. What was the advice with which they counseled them? They took for themselves bad advice. The ELDERS OF MIDIAN said to Moab, We have grown a bad crop among us. And who is it? It is their master, Moses. There was among us a priest who took care of him and supported him in his house and gave him his daughter for a wife. Furthermore, he gave him money and sent him to Egypt to destroy the whole country. And he, THE PRIEST, and his entire household got carried away after him. If we could root out from the world that master of theirs, all his people would be uprooted from the world. The entire disastrous advice in the matters of Pe'or stemmed from Midian.
94. Come and see that everything stemmed from Midian; the thrust of their counsel was about Moses, and with the advice of Midian they hired Bilaam. When they realized that Bilaam was incapable, they followed another bad idea, and they freely loosened their women and daughters even more than Moab. About the women of Midian, it is written: "Behold, these caused the children of Yisrael..." (Bemidbar 31:16). Everything stemmed from Midian. They took counsel with their chief that he should loosen his daughter, since they were plotting to ensnare Moses in their net. They adorned her with many spells, so she should successfully catch the head OF YISRAEL. And the Holy One, blessed be He, "turns wise men back" (Yeshayah 44:25).
96. Everything originated in Midian in several ways. Therefore, Midian was punished and the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, "Execute the vengeance of the children of Yisrael on the Midianites" (Bemidbar 31:2). For you, it is appropriate and becoming. As for Moab, I leave them alone until the two jewels will come out from among them. Here's David son of Yishai who will take revenge on Moab, and will rinse the loaded pot of filth from Pe'or. This is what it says, "Moab is My washpot" (Tehilim 60:10) assuredly. As long as these two jewels did not come out of there, they were not punished. As soon as they came out, David came and washed clean the pot from their filth, and all received their punishment, Midian during the time of Moses and Moab during the time of David.
97. Come and see that, in spite of all this, the wicked of Midian did not rest from all their evil. Generations later, when they saw that Joshua had died, together with all the elders who were worthy to have miracles performed through them, they figured that the time was now opportune. What did they do? They approached Amalek and told them, It is worth it for you to remember what the children of Yisrael and their master Moses and his disciple Joshua have brought upon you that will destroy you. Now is the opportune time, for they have no one to shield them. We will go and accompany you, as it is written: "Midian and Amalek and the children of the east..." (Shoftim 6:33). "And because of Midian Yisrael made for themselves the tunnels..." (Ibid. 2). There was no one in the world who wished to harm the children of YISRAEL like Midian. You might say Amalek; because of jealousy of the covenant, they approached the covenant TO HARM IT. Therefore, the Holy One, blessed be He, took everlasting vengeance, which was not to be forgotten. They agreed that it was certainly so and there was no doubt at all.
161. Rabbi Elazar asked about Bilaam the wicked, who killed him and how he got killed. Rabbi Yitzchak said, Pinchas and his people killed him, as it says, "And they slew...beside the rest of them" (Bemidbar 31:8). We were taught that in the city of Midian, Bilaam was performing with his witchcraft and that he was flying in the air together with the kings of Midian. If not for the holy gold plate and the prayer of Pinchas that made them drop TO THE GROUND over their slain, THEY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN VICTORIOUS OVER THEM. That is what is written: "AND THEY SLEW THE KINGS OF MIDIAN, beside the rest of them" and: "Bilaam also, of the son of Beor, the soothsayer, did the children of Yisrael slay with the sword" (Yehoshua 13:22). Rabbi Elazar said to him, I know all this.
173. HE INQUIRES: Where was Bilaam at that time? If you say in Midian, why is it written: "And now, behold, I go to my people" (Bemidbar 24:14). If he already left, who placed him in Midian? HE RESPONDS: As soon as that wicked man saw that 24,000 fell from Yisrael due to his advice, TO OFFER THE WOMEN TO PROSTITUTE WITH YISRAEL, he wished to collect from them his recompense. While he was still there, Pinchas and the chiefs of the army arrived there.
221. Rabbi Elazar spoke again saying, "Even the sparrow has found a home" refers to Jethro. "And the swallow (Heb. dror) a nest for herself:" That is his sons, who were in Cell of Gazith studying Torah, and decree Torah laws with their lips. "Find a home:" What is the meaning of that? HE RESPONDS: It is because they journeyed and camped in the desert at first, then traveled from the pleasures of Midian and from their sweet life there and camped in the desert. When the Holy One, blessed be He, noticed their desire for Torah, He drew them from there and gave them a place in the Cell of Gazith. "And the swallow a nest for herself" is all one and the same, because a sparrow and swallow are both one and the same bird. AND NEST (HEB. KEN) IS LIKE: "Heber the Kenite" (Shoftim 4:17), and: "And Saul said to the Kenites" (I Shmuel 15:6).
222. Come and see what is written: "And Balak the son of Tzipor saw." Why the difference that his father's name is mentioned rather than the rest of the other kings OF MIDIAN WHO DID NOT HAVE THEIR FATHER'S NAMES MENTIONED? HE RESPONDS: It is only because Jethro drew himself away and was removed from idol worship, and he together with his children approached Yisrael to join with them. The whole world excommunicated him and persecuted him.
223. Balak was from the descendants OF JETHRO and deviated from the ways of his father. When the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian, who were friends in their idol worship, saw that Jethro and his descendants adhered to the Shechinah, this one distanced himself from them. They came and crowned him king over them at that time, as it is written: "And Balak the son of Tzipor was king of Moab at that time." At that time, he was the king, something that he was not before then. Therefore, it is written: "the son of Tzipor" THAT ALLUDES TO JETHRO WHO WAS CALLED 'TZIPOR' TO INDICATE that it was not proper to do so, BECAUSE HE WAS FROM THE DESCENDANTS OF JETHRO CALLED 'TZIPOR.' HE INQUIRES: It says, "And Balak...saw," but it should have said 'heard.' What is the meaning here of: "saw?" HE RESPONDS: He saw a vision and he knew that he will fall into the hands of Yisrael. Yisrael will first fall into his hands and only afterward would he fall into Yisrael's hands. That is the reason it says: "And Balak the son of Tzipor saw."
267. Furthermore, "go to the meeting (Heb. ikareh) yonder (Heb. coh)" MEANS I will lead and pull that level down with transgressions, defilement, nightly uncleanness (Heb. keri) and the defilement that will be caused by His children. And she will destroy them. HE DEFINES IKAREH AS DERIVED FROM KERI. Immediately, "And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divinations in their hand" (Bemidbar 22:7) in order to avoid the excuses of the wicked one who says that he does not possess the particular magic which he may need, and who will thereby be able to restrain himself from joining them.
282. Another explanation of, "And takes away the understanding of the aged" is : "And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand" (Bemidbar 22:7). He took away their reasoning powers so they could not control their witchcraft at all "and spoke to him the words of Balak" (Ibid.) loudly and openly, and not quietly BECAUSE HIS HEARING WAS IMPAIRED. He had a blemish in his ear, a blemish in his eye and a blemish in his leg. In these three areas, he had a blemish AND DISABILITY, because he was equipped for the Other Side. That was necessary for the Other Side, WHICH IS a place where there is a blemish. Each kind follows its own kind.
284. "And the princes of Moab abode" (Ibid.). However, the princes of Midian left them and did not want to remain there, although the ministers of Moab did stay, as it is written: "And the princes of Moab abode" on their own. Midian would have acted appropriately IF THEY WOULD HAVE separated from them altogether, if in the end they would have caused no harm, and not eventually been in the counsel of Bilaam that sent their wives and women to Yisrael at Shitim to lead them astray. The scripture points out their sin, as it is written: "For they vex you with their wiles, with which they have beguiled you in the matter of Pe'or, and in the matter of Kozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister..." (Bemidbar 25:18). With these two things they sinned, WITH PE'OR AND KOZBI and their iniquity was great. And with their tail, THAT IS, EVENTUALLY, they struck later. Therefore, they remained with him and the Midianites left on their own.
285. Another explanation of: "And the princes of Moab abode with Bilaam:" It was fine for Midian to leave if that was their wish. However, the staying over of those from Moab who remained caused them to have a good reward due to their remaining there, while the Midianites' leaving caused them harm. Why is this? It is because those who stayed cared for the glory ot the words of the Holy One, blessed be He, while those who left did not care at all.
286. HE EXPLAINS HIMSELF: At the time, that wicked one said: "And I will bring you back word, as Hashem shall speak to me" (Bemidbar 22:8), instantly, those of Moab were shook up to hear this and stayed there, and those of Midian did not care at all and left. THEREFORE, they were punished afterward, which is why the ministers of Moab remained with Bilaam. That night, this wicked one was whispering whispers and performed witchcraft, and brought upon himself a spirit from above. Instantly, "Elohim came to Bilaam," simply Elohim, meaning his own level, of the Other Side, that is in the left.
398. Come and see, when Balak saw that Sihon and Og were killed and their country was taken, he saw ONE MORE THING. HE ASKS: What did he see THAT THE SCRIPTURE says, "saw?" It is only that he saw in his wisdom he and the five top chiefs of Midian and his people were falling into the hands of Yisrael. He saw, yet did not know CLEARLY. Therefore, he first approached Bilaam, whose power was in his mouth TO BLESS AND CURSE, like Yisrael, whose power is in their mouth.
500. When the Holy One, blessed be He, saw his advice, He said, 'You will certainly get snared by your own plot' - BECAUSE HE WAS KILLED IN THE VENGEANCE AGAINST MIDIAN. What did the power controlling magic do, THAT IS MALCHUT, AS MENTIONED ABOVE? It showed him the final end. HE INQUIRES: Does he have permission to see into the distant future? Rabbi Yitzchak said, The eye saw and perceived; however, the actual statements were spoken by the one who is over him, MEANING IT CAME FROM MALCHUT. This was already explained in relation to the verse: "And he took up his discourse, and said..." WHO SPOKE? Whoever should have spoken, MEANING MALCHUT, AS WE MENTIONED THERE. Why is that so? So that disgusting statements BY BILAAM should not come true through the will of the most High, through the high knowledge of the Torah.